Friday, October 17, 2014


Third Friday's on the blog are usually reserved for writing news if I have any. This week, instead of Valley View news, I have family news.

Meet Amy Jean Richardson and

William Lee Richardson.

Their membership in our family became official this week when a judge made their adoption by my youngest daughter and her husband final.

Meet the Richardson clan:

Left to right: Grandson Blake Richardson, Granddaughter Abigail Richardson, my daughter Tammi, holding Amy, the very nice judge who made it all happen, My son-in-law Tim Richardson holding William, hiding in the back grandson Brian Richardson, and last but hardly least Granddaughter Hailey Richardson.

Amy and William have been a part of our family for a year, ever since Tammi and Tim decided to become foster parents. It didn't take long for them to realize that they wanted a more permanent arrangement if possible and we all know that with God, all things are possible.

I have no adequate words to express my pride in, and love for, this whole family. Amy and William...welcome to the clan!

Friday, October 10, 2014


Welcome to this October's SECOND FRIDAY RECIPE. On the second Friday of each month, I've invited a fellow author to share a favorite recipe with us and maybe a little something about their latest book. This week I'd like to welcome Jacqueline Freeman Wheelock. Her favorite recipe? Gumbo. Take it away Jacqueline...

Time was when it took my mama all day to make gumbo, but here’s a recipe that delivers the same New Orleans taste in a fourth of the time.

Shortcut Chicken and Seafood Gumbo

·    One box of Zatarain’s gumbo base or any available brand (with or without rice)
·    Six to eight pieces of Popeye’s spicy chicken
 Note: If you live in an area without Popeye’s, simply purchase a cutup chicken (or chicken parts). Wash and season it, leaning heavily on creole/Cajun seasoning. Flour and brown it in the cooking oil of your choice.
·    Two to three large links of country sausage, sliced crosswise
·    One small can of stewed tomatoes
·    One pound of fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
·    A cluster of crab legs
·    A couple of drops of crab boil (optional)
·    One half teaspoon of gumbo file (ground sassafras leaves)
·    One small bag of frozen cut okra

Add three quarts of cold water to a medium-sized pot. Empty the box of gumbo base into the pot, and stir thoroughly until the base is dissolved. (It will clump if added to hot water.) Add chicken and sausage, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for fifteen minutes, stirring frequently.
Add tomatoes, shrimp, crab legs, crab boil, and gumbo file. Simmer for another five to seven minutes. Add okra and continue simmering until the okra is tender but still firm enough to hold its form. Add additional creole/Cajun seasoning to taste if need be.

Dinah Devereaux, New Orleans-born slave and ex-seamstress, suddenly finds herself relegated to a sweltering kitchen on a Natchez town estate. Having never cooked a day in her life, she is terrified of being found out and banished to the cotton fields. But when she accidentally burns the freedom papers of Jonathan Mayfield, a handsome free man of color to whom she's attracted, her fear of the fields becomes secondary.

A gifted cabinetmaker, Jonathan Mayfield’s heart is set on finally becoming a respected businessman by outfitting a bedroom at the palatial Riverwood—until a beautiful new slave destroys his proof of freedom and his fragile confidence along with it.

When Dinah's new mistress orders her to work alongside the sullen Mr. Mayfield, sparks fly setting the two on a collision course. Is their mutual love for God strong enough to overcome deep-seated insecurities and set the couple on a path toward self-acceptance and love for each other? 

Jacqueline Freeman Wheelock is a multi-published author whose works range from her “Christmas Lights” in Christmas Stories from Mississippi to her memoirs in Children of the Changing South: Accounts of Growing Up During and After Integration. Her first novel, A Most Precious Gift, released in August, 2014, and her story, “A Bracelet for Christmas,” is included in Guideposts’ A Cup of Christmas Cheer, October, 2014. A member of ACFW, Jacqueline is an avid reader of Christian fiction. She is a retired high school and college English teacher, and she and her husband Donald reside in central Mississippi. They are the parents of two adult children and one beloved granddaughter.

Friday, October 3, 2014


Welcome to October and getting to know you Friday. On the first Friday of each month I want us to take the time to get to know each other a little better. I'll post something you might not know about me and ask you to share.

Hi, My name is Sharon Srock and I have a confession to make...I have a serious sweater addiction. My mother suffered from the same condition, she passed it on to me. My oldest daughter carries the burden as well, and I have a grandson who has requested sweaters for his Christmas present. It truly is a generational curse.

There are only three seasons to my year. Spring, summer, and sweater.I have more than 50 fleecy friends folded (say that fast three times) away in under the bed storage units, just waiting for cooler weather to arrive for good.  And even though we still have a couple of near 90 degree days in our ten day forecast, today didn't get over 65, so it's coming! The chance to snuggle into the embrace of a comfortable old friend as I sit on the porch with book and coffee, or trek off to my day job.

Every year as August turns into September I begin to long for my sweater days. Shopping at this time of the year often becomes a hunt for the perfect new trophy to add to my collection. If I don't get help soon, I'll be forced to start storing them in the trunk of my car when I'm not wearing them.

Sweater is my favorite season of the year. What's yours and why?